How did India enter UNESCO's 'Super 40 Club'?

India Aug 16, 2021

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A recent proclamation by UNESCO has brought an ecstatic moment to Indians worldwide. The country has now entered the "Super 40" Club. Dholavira and Ramappa Temple are newly inscribed sites from India taking the tally of total world heritage sites across the country to 40. Netizens were elated & thrilled by the announcement.

Several leaders of India applauded the decision of UNESCO and termed this inclusion as another feather in India's cap.

Let's understand the functioning of UNESCO and the significance of these cultural sites in detail.

UNESCO - United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, aims to identify and preserve cultural heritage around the world.

After this decision taken by UNESCO, India now possesses 32 cultural, 7 natural, and 1 mixed site. From 2014 to 2021, India had 10 sites inscribed, making the country  Brown Nation i.e. a country having at least 40 UNESCO sites.

1) Ramappa Temple.

Rudreshwara/Ramappa Temple was built by the Kakatiya dynasty between the 12th - 14th centuries and is located in present-day Telangana. Lord Ramalingeshwara is worshipped in this temple's Sivalayam. The temple has had the glory of holding Kohinoor diamond once.

Even the traveler Marco Polo lauded this temple, calling it -

"The brightest star in the galaxy of temples."

Indian PM Modi appreciated this decision and asked people to visit this site. He tweeted -

" The iconic Ramappa temple showcases the craftsmanship of the Kakatiya dynasty. I urge all citizens to visit this majestic temple complex. "

Even after 800 years of construction various carvings and figures have intact lusture. The temple is built with pillars and beams of granite, dolerite, and sandstone. Its inner sanctum is made of lightweight porous bricks, giving it the name ‘floating bricks'.

It is truly a perfect manifestation of human geniuses.

Let's have a look at the country's 40th UNESCO site.

2) Dholavira

UNESCO on 27th July, inscribed another Indian site "Dholavira", in its World Heritage List. It is an ancient Harappa city located in present-day Rann of the Kutch region of Gujarat.

While announcing the decision, the World Heritage Committee(WHC) praised Dholavira’s construction in all aspects - be it water management system, special burial structures, and multi-layered defensive mechanisms. All this sets the ancient city apart from other cultural sites. It had been on the systems’ tentative list since 2014.

Dholavira is one of the most remarkable and well-preserved settlements of the Indus Valley Civilization.

This Harappan city was first discovered in 1968, it comprises two parts:-

Walled City and Cemetery.

The walled city is completely fortified with a castle, ceremonial ground, middle and lower town alongside the citadel.

The burials in the cemetery are memorial. Artifacts such as shells, stones, jewelry of semi-precious stones, terracotta, ivory are also found at this site. This will be the 4th UNESCO site from Gujarat and its nomination was submitted by the government back in 2019.

In the online meeting of WHC members, India won the consensus of other nations with the help of Russia's rule 22.7 diplomatic statement.

Both the sites are worthy of inclusion and make great contributions to the shared heritage of India and humanity.

India already has a wide range of heritage sites and the country is now on the verge of becoming a hub of cultural and historical jewels. There are numerous such temples & tourist sites whose growth is hindered. It's high time that the government works for the upliftment of such tourist spots.

With the increasing number of UNESCO sites, the government can channelize its efforts towards promoting tourism and the service sector. This move will certainly act as a boon and help the country to prosper amidst this ailing economic phase created by the pandemic.

This article has been written by Kartik Bajare for The Paradigm

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